On May 15, 2011, Microsoft announced that its search engine, Bing, would start to incorporate social network information from Facebook in its formula which determines organic search results. For instance, information gathered from Facebook users from the “Like” feature will now play a role in determining search result relevancy.

What’s behind this relationship is a realization that to compete with Google, providing more relevant search results is essential. Anyone searching on Google will quickly realize that though Google has 65% of the search market, it still produces many irrelevant search results. Therefore, a search engine that can increase the search result relevancy could gain an edge over Google.

Google has also been attempting to incorporate social network information into the determination of search results. However, it does not seem to have the depth of information now available to Bing.

The significance of this development may be as follows:

  • It’s another example of personal information being used for possibly unexpected purposes.
  • It shows how the all important “link” factor for determining search result relevancy may be downgraded in the near future. Especially since, everyone on SEO knows how link generation has been abused for years.